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Thursday, August 04, 2011
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Irony in Violent Rhetoric

Monday was a very momentous occasion in Congress. Not only was a debt ceiling compromise bill passed (which didn't actually cut the budget at all, despite what you've heard), but it marked the return of Representative Gabby Giffords. This was her first vote after being shot in the head, and enduring a long, painful recovery process.

Most of us probably still remember the news of Gifford's shooting, and the great debates which took place afterwards concerning the "violent rhetoric" which lead up to the shooting. There were the debates over what words were appropriate... and some people even tried to pass bills outlawing the use of targets in ads and political speech. Democrats all around the country blamed Republicans and their violent language for her shooting. The violent rhetoric, we were told, had to be eliminated before anyone else was hurt.

So you'll understand the irony I see in the fact that so much violent rhetoric is now being thrown in the direction of the Tea Party (and other Republicans) regarding the Debt Ceiling vote... the very first vote Gabby Giffords made after she was shot. They've been called terrorists, Hezbollah, suicide bombers, Satanic... and probably worse, if that's possible. They say that the memories of voters is short, and apparently the memory of politicians is even shorter.

"What happened to civility in politics?", they all cried. The reality, of course, is that it never existed in the first place:

Despite the fact that we've been calling politicians the most horrible things, and wishing upon them the most horrible pains, since the inception of this country... people will always claim that they've been virtuous, and the other side is the one with the problem. So let this serve as a reminder to all. Even on the day that Gabby Giffords returned to the House floor to vote... people couldn't put their violent rhetoric aside.

CATO has more on this re-emergence of violent speak.

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